UFC waters down another card to make new main event

The UFC's June 17th ESPN fight card was looking pretty stacked, but now it's back to business as usual with another main event move.

By: Zane Simon | 9 months
UFC waters down another card to make new main event
UFC featherweight Ilia Topuria exits the cage. IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

MMA fans hoping for an especially stacked UFC Fight Night card next month are going to find themselves disappointed. The promotion’s June 17th Apex card had been set to feature both a middleweight top contender’s bout between Marvin Vettori & Jared Cannonier, and a featherweight top contender’s bout between Josh Emmett & Ilia Topuria. Too good to be true?

Turns out, yes.

Instead the Emmett vs. Topuria bout has been bumped back to June 24th, as the new main event for the UFC’s next ABC card, taking place at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL. Dana White announced the news in a recent Instagram Live post.

13 UFC cards hit with main event changes in 2023

The move for Emmett vs. Topuria off of the June 17th date and into the January 24th headliner marks the 13th fight card that has seen a change of main event talent so far in 2023. Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker had originally been planned for last Saturday’s main event, with Raquel Pennington vs. Irene Aldana originally set to headline this week’s Mackenzie Dern vs. Angela Hill fight card.

UFC 289 had been the intended landing spot of the trilogy bout between Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena, but an injury to the Venezuela vixen saw Aldana pulled in as her replacement. June 3rd’s UFC on ESPN: Kara-France vs. Albazi fight card had been set to feature Jack Hermansson vs. Brendan Allen, before a Hermansson injury forced his withdrawal, with Topuria vs. Emmett was originally intended as the headliner for June 17th.

Constantly shifting sands aside, Emmett (18-4) will enter this fight off his first loss in five years. The Team Alpha Male standout pushed his way into the contender’s circle off victories over Shane Burgos, Dan Ige, and Calvin Kattar among others—only to hit a hard wall against current interim champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 284. A victory over Topuria might be just what he needs to put himself right back into consideration as a challenger for UFC gold.

For 26-year-old Ilia Topuria, his time in MMA has been marked by nothing but success. Currently standing at a record of 13-0, the German-born fighter out of Alicante, Spain has put together five victories inside the Octagon—the last four of which have all been inside the distance. Most recently, Topuria faced off against Bryce Mitchell at UFC 282, submitting ‘Thug Nasty’ in the second round with an arm-triangle.

UFC on ABC: Emmett vs. Topuria fight card

  • Josh Emmett vs. Ilia Topuria
  • Amanda Ribas vs. Maycee Barber
  • Brendan Allen vs. Bruno Silva
  • Randy Brown vs. Wellington Turman
  • Neil Magny vs. Philip Rowe
  • David Onama vs. Gabriel Santos
  • Austen Lane vs. Justin Tafa
  • Tabatha Ricci vs. Gillian Robertson
  • Mateusz Rebecki vs. Loik Radzhabov
  • Punahele Soriano vs. Sedriques Dumas
  • Gregory Rodrigues vs. Dennis Tiuliulin
  • Tatsuro Taira vs. Kelydson Rodrigues
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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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